Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind ★★★★★

(40th Anniversary rerelease)

I'm not going to review Close Encounters of the Third Kind, because I can't. This is one of those movies, one that transcends discussion about acting or directing: it has excellent instances of all of those things, of course, but it's a personal journey through and through.

So I just want to describe my personal journey seeing this on the big screen for the first time in my life. The theater wasn't empty (there were two other groups of people), but it might as well have been for me, sitting as close to the screen as I could. From the Columbia logo on, I was entranced, whisked away from personal troubles and into this wondrous world. Entranced by the childlike innocence of Roy Neary, by the discoveries of Lacombe and his team, by Jillian and Barry's encounter. The sound of bass rumbling beneath me as Roy encounters the UFO for the first time and John Williams' beautiful score filling the room, I sat with my knees pulled to my chest: it was cold in the theater, but it mostly stemmed from feeling like a kid again, being shown the movie by my dad for the first time so many years ago. Two hours and fifteen minutes passed like nothing, and the movie came to the Devil's Tower sequence, which I will absolutely refuse to call anything but one of the greatest sequences ever put to film. I cried, twice by my count, both times in this sequence. First, at the moment where the mothership first begins to respond to the scientists' tone. And second, when Lacombe gestures to the alien and smiles, and it responds with the same gesture and same smile. The saddest moment of all came when the lights came up, and I was forced to return to life as I know it.

This movie will continue to play in theaters for two more days. Please, if you haven't seen it on the big screen before, and especially if you've never seen it period, I implore you to go out of your way for this. This is a life changing experience.

Andrew liked these reviews